Georgia GOP playbook: If you can’t find dirt, make up dumb stuff


By Jonathan Grant
@Brambleman

Marcy Westmoreland Sakrison has sent out mailers attacking an unnamed but identifiable opponent in Georgia’s House District 71 special election:

ATTENTION
MARCY WESTMORELAND SAKRISON IS THE REPUBLICAN WHO CAN BEAT THE HAND PICKED CHOICE OF THE DEMOCRATIC ELITE
Not this again!

She’s talking about longtime Peachtree City librarian Jill Prouty, the only Democrat running. Say her name!

During a recent interview, Prouty discussed her candidacy. She never mentioned any of the “elites” pictured on the flyer. Instead, she talked about rejecting the GOP when it became the Party of Trump and getting involved in local Democratic politics. She joined the Coweta Democratic Women’s Council, considered running, gauged her support, and decided to qualify on July 18.

She said nothing about the hand picking. Not one word, so I checked back after the flyer came out, to make sure things were on the up and up. Prouty steadfastly denied knowing, meeting, or otherwise communicating with any of the postcard gang.

Self-selected candidate Prouty

Not even Stacey? I asked.

“Never,” Prouty replied.

So … Marcy Westmoreland Sakrison’s flyer is a liar. It doesn’t rise to the level of libel and slander, or course. It’s mainly just dumb, in a sack full of hammers kind of way. Still, its intent is to disparage Prouty’s candidacy by claiming she’s the tool of others.

That’s not the case, of course. In addition to being a librarian, Prouty is a wife, mother of two sons, and a business owner—so not a socialist, either, despite the flyer’s rhetoric. Unfortunately, calling all Democrats “socialist” is the main Republican talking point, handed down from on high, so Marcy Westmoreland Sakrison has no choice but to use it. To find out what Prouty is really like, click here. And remember: Readers are leaders!

The most remarkable thing about the flyer isn’t that it’s a silly cheap shot—or that Coweta Sheriff Lenn Wood looks like he can’t believe what he’s hearing—it’s the blatant hypocrisy of Marcy Westmoreland Sakrison in sending it, because the only candidate backed by elites in this race is Marcy Westmoreland Sakrison, daughter of former U.S. Rep. Congressman Lynn Westmoreland.

More likely—much, much more likely—that Marcy Westmoreland Sakrison is the tool of others than the librarian. (Marcy Westmoreland Sakrison really likes dropping that name everywhere. I’m happy to help.)

Her father happens to serve as her campaign chair, and it’s worth noting that Marcy Westmoreland Sakrison’s political path was partially cleared for her when Sam Anders, who ran against Stover in 2018, dropped out of the special and endorsed her on the eve of qualifying. Local legislators and elected officials quickly rallied to her side with endorsements, annointing Marcy Westmoreland Sakrison as the establishment candidate, but calls herself a “Trump Conservative,” which is an oxymoron, but what does it matter? All the GOP candidates swear allegiance to Trump and Trumpism. She’s gonna help him build the wall!

OK,  it’s not just the librarian she has to fear

Despite the candidate’s connections, all is not well in Westmoreland. Two other Republicans, nonprofit director Nina Blackwelder and Army veteran Philip Singleton, are in the Sept. 3 jungle primary, as well as the aforementioned Prouty, who is running a strong campaign and stands a good chance of making the Oct. 1 runoff. So the establishment candidate has to worry about getting knocked out early by one of the other Republicans.

While this is Blackwelder’s first run for office, Singleton has experience, having run in the 2018 Third Congressional District primary. He’s also an official in the Coweta County Republican Party. While we haven’t gotten a glimpse of Blackwelder’s financial support yet, Singleton’s report states he’s raised more than $30,000, ten grand more than he collected in his Congressional bid. This is a significant haul in a short amount of time, and it’s worth noting that he did it without loaning money to his campaign, often a grim necessity in these short-term races.

Singleton calls himself a Constitutional Conservative and considers himself a political outsider. He also claims an endorsement from former State Senator and gubernatorial canddate Hunter Hill. Mike Crane, who represented Coweta County in the Senate for several years, called Singleton “the candidate who can stop the Establishment from gaining more ground in the (Georgia) House.”

There is some testiness between the two camps. At a televised forum in Newnan, Singleton called it a “contentious campaign” and cried foul over some “underhanded, old political tricks going on.” For her part, Sakrison bristled at the notion that coming from a political family was a negative. “If I want to be like my father, I don’t see anything wrong with that,” she said.

Singleton didn’t name names, but after watching Singleton’s Facebook Live interview with Crane, it’s evident that he was talking about Marcy Westmoreland Sakrison. He also predicted more dirty tricks to come, although he has stressed that he’s not going to engage in negative campaigning. Fingers crossed!

Some candidates are picky about who’ll they’ll talk to. Marcy Westmoreland Sakrison skipped the Coweta GOP candidate forum (Singleton’s turf) and got zero votes in the resulting straw polls. Prouty, who got points for political courage just for showing up, came in second in the polls, even picking up a vote as a result of her performance. By the way, both Marcy Westmoreland Sakrison and Singleton blew off a Fayette NAACP meeting for candidates after being listed on the program flyer. The only HD71 candidates to show up: Prouty and Blackwelder.

Speaking of political background …

During his interview with Crane, Singleton briefly alluded to swamp politics, pointing out that the (unnamed) chair for one of the candidates was a lobbyist. This would be the elder Westmoreland. A quick search turned up an AJC article with this line in it: “(Westmoreland) said he couldn’t remember the firm’s name.”

That reminded me of something else Westmoreland couldn’t remember: The Ten Commandments.

One other thing: Westmoreland has had to endure a nearly two-year wait for Senate confirmation of his appointment to the Board of Directors of Amtrak, and not only because he voted to completely defund the agency while he served in Congress.

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